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July 3, 2020
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Ario Barzan's Blog


An American-Iranian living in Boston. I spend my creative efforts on visual art, writing, and composing music, and have received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I am employed part-time as an elementary school educator. The topic of architecture has increasingly occupied my thoughts, discussions, and written words over the past several years, and it both informs and is informed by my main interest in videogames: level, or environment, design.

For my visual art:

For my music:

For writings on level design:

For writings on videogame music:


Member Blogs

Posted by Ario Barzan on Thu, 21 Jan 2016 01:58:00 EST in Design, Art, Console/PC
This article looks at Dark Souls' environmental concept and compares it with other games' comparable environmental art to hypothesize how it may have substantially influenced its contemporaneously atypical level design.

Posted by Ario Barzan on Mon, 21 Sep 2015 02:00:00 EDT in Design, Art, Console/PC, Serious
What makes the worlds of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls so fascinating? Let's find out!

Posted by Ario Barzan on Mon, 27 Jul 2015 03:18:00 EDT in Design, Art, Console/PC, Serious
The castle's structural design in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has rarely been factored into analyses of the game's strengths. This article will do so, using comparisons to several other exploration-based Castlevania titles for effect.

Posted by Ario Barzan on Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:10:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Serious
Dark Souls 2's DLC was a chance for the developers to hone their craft. Despite some novel ideas, though, the DLC was mostly characterized by tedium and absurdities. This is the first of two articles, each emphasizing environment and encounter design.

Posted by Ario Barzan on Mon, 19 Jan 2015 01:16:00 EST in Audio, Art, Console/PC, Serious
This essay explores how “Dracula’s Castle”, from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's soundtrack, mainly revolves around two melodic germs, and how these are used in conjunction with formal developments which can be interpreted narratively.

Posted by Ario Barzan on Mon, 08 Dec 2014 01:44:00 EST in Art, Console/PC
Visual artists are expected to place their work in a historical context, yet there seems to be an absent consciousness of the material that can be used for games' environments. Here are two artist-architects whose work game designers should know about.

Ario Barzan's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 04/19/2016 - 12:21]

Thanks for writing and sharing ...

Thanks for writing and sharing this. I 'm looking forward to getting the time to read it.

Comment In: [News - 11/24/2015 - 02:04]

This is the kind of ...

This is the kind of damage that the social justice anti male movement is doing. r n r nlol.

Comment In: [Blog - 09/18/2015 - 01:30]

The deification of the subjective ...

The deification of the subjective can only end in a denial of intrinsic meaning. r n r nWhat is intrinsic meaning , though Meaning can necessarily only ever be subjective because an object needs an intellectually capable subject for the meaning-making to happen. Meaning is dependent upon a perceiver-perceived relationship. ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/27/2015 - 03:18]

I recommend trying those games ...

I recommend trying those games out. Other games with similarly design principles exist and are worth exploring such as Ufouria or Demon 's Crest , but you might as well see first-hand what most people are talking about when they mention Metroidvanias. It could also be helpful to play some ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/12/2015 - 01:39]

This reads as an assumptive, ...

This reads as an assumptive, generalized, and patronizing article to me, and I don 't understand why people have been responding so positively to it. Maybe it 's providing some sort of temporary validation for anyone who feels like their art has been maligned. Conclusions like Good art is good ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/05/2015 - 01:22]

Great article, James. Thanks for ...

Great article, James. Thanks for writing and sharing it. Critical write-ups of the Souls games have tended towards uninteresting and/or inaccurate observations or comparative models, so it 's nice to see some analysis that takes some of those cliches to task to see how they hold up under a more ...